Health's coronavirus plan to address hospital shortages
As the global fight against the coronavirus continues the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, has said that local health authorities are standing by across the country if the virus reaches Samoa's shores.
During his 2AP programme on Thursday evening, Tuilaepa said that the Ministry’s anticipation plans for coronavirus included having doctors stationed at each of the country’s district hospitals and health centres.
Tuilaepa listed the names of each and acknowledged especially those who were placed in district hospitals in both Savai’i and Upolu.
He also extended his thanks to the Director-General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, and team for what he described as their vigilance.
"Should someone be infected with the coronavirus, the Ministry of Health has long been preparing for it," said Tuilaepa.
"Each hospital will have a doctor stationed there. This will be easier to care for the sick not only in their district hospitals in Savaii but also in Upolu."
Tuilaepa said the aim of the Ministry’s strategy was to increase the quality of services in rural areas and also to prepare each hospital in the event of the virus reaching Samoa.
"I thank the hospital Director-General and team, Tevaga and doctors working to provide the best treatment for our people," he said.
"This will help relieve the two main hospitals in Motootua and Tuasivi. This is the plan that has been executed and they will be dispersed very soon.
"And this is also to remind the public of the needed vaccinations to be carried out. All these things will be carried out in this plan to ensure there is better care for Samoa.”
In April last year, a mother at Siumu, on the south coast of Upolu, blamed a lack of doctors at the Lalomanu District Hospital for the misdiagnosis of her daughter’s serious infection.
Fuatai Vaea Tupuola said she took her two-week-old baby to the Poutasi District Hospital on Saturday, 13 April, only to find that there were no doctors on duty.
She was advised by hospital staff that doctors only worked on Fridays and nurses attend to the sick for the remaining days.
It was only after Ms. Tupuola traveled to Apia that, she said, she was advised that her daughter had been incorrectly sent home and given medication, when she needed hospital treatment.
The ambition of the Government’s health reforms is for these changes to address such shortages.
Tuilaepa also responded to multiple calls to lift or relax the state of emergency orders brought in last month and to open up Samoa's borders again.
The Prime Minister said that people needed to keep in mind that the course of pandemics is that they rarely come in single waves.
"People need to understand there is a first, second, third wave to this thing. After the first wave is conquered, there is a second wave to come mainly through those from overseas and after that, there is also a possibility of a third wave," he said.
"The reason why I say this is for those who want to open, open and open up our borders. But I advise the people to watch T.V. There you will see how frightening this pandemic is."
Doctors being posted to Savai’i include: Dr. Sione Tuionotoa for the Fuailalo District Hospital; Dr. Robert Faataga for Sataua District Hospital; Dr. Tanu Tuese for Safotu District Hospital and Vaipouli Health Centre;, Dr. Scotland nun Yan at the Satupaitea Health Centre and Dr. Moziah Maru Malietoa Tanumafili II Hopital Tuasivi.
For district hospitals in Upolu, doctors stationed at hospitals are: Dr. Jone Palefau; Dr. John Wesley Tuioti and Dr. Martin Vaigafa at Leulumoega District Hospital and Faleolo Health Center; Dr. Soteria Sekuini at Poutasi District Hospital; Dr. Fanueli Mayday at Lalomanu District Hospital; Dr. Helen Tuagatagaloa Laulu at Lufilufi; and Dr. Alaiula Faasalaina at Saanapu.